Let's go bowling-Draft style
Written by Curt Popejoy on 12/19/2009
Bowl season ranks 2nd for me as my favorite time of year for football. Obviously the offseason/draft season ranks numero uno for me, but the Bowls are great for a couple of reasons. First, I love the bowl games. I love the fact that the Wyoming players have gotten to spend a week in Albuquerque, NM with the whole city there for them. Same for the Frenso State players. The atmosphere is great for these student athletes and a deserving reward(along with their giftbag with includes a Sony gift suite, Oakley Beanie backpack and sunglasses, and an Ogio garment bag. Not too shabby. But other than just all the things great about bowl games for the player, the city they are playing in, etc., is the exposure that some of these prospects will get. For a lot of the players in these Bowl games, getting on TV is a rarity and getting on national televison even more rare. These games may not pull the ratings that say the BCS Championship will, but for a guy who's wanting to get an NFL look, he knows scouts are here and will be watching. So for these smaller bowls, I am going to throw you a few names to keep an on, in terms of draft potential and exposure.
New Mexico Bowl-Frenso State versus Wyoming-Obviously there is really one big name to showcase here, and it's Fresno State RB Ryan Matthews. Only a junior, Matthews has been my no. 2 college back all season behind Mark Ingram of Alabama. Matthews has ideal NFL size and an impressive combo of speed and power that is rare and should he declare he'll be coveted, especially with since he's displayed his ability to be a 3 down workhorse. I haven't added Matthews to my player rankings as of yet, because he's given no indication he plans to declare. But if he did declare I'd probably put him 2 or 3, in the mix with CJ Spiller and Jonathan Dwyer. But Matthews isn't the only Bulldog to watch today.
S Moses Harris has nice size and is a really versitile player. He's got a chance to come out and be a leader on defense for the Bulldogs and really showcase his range and athleticism.
WR Seyi Ajirotutu is the other Bulldog in the game who can gain the most momentum with a big game. He's got NFl size at 6-3 and 210lbs. He rusn nice routes and makes tough catches. WR are so hard to judge in terms of NFL potential it's tough to say just how draftable he is, but he can certainly play football.
For Wyoming, the prospects are a little more slim, but they do have a couple of defensive players to look at. Which is interesting when you consider that they will be assigned the project of stopping Matthews. DE's Mitch Unrein and John Fletcher are big oversized ends, who do a great job stuffing the run. Where their NFL futures may lie is beefing up a little more, and player 3-4 DE spots. It will be strength again strength in this game, as the Cowboy's two best defensive players against Fresno's best offensive player.
The other Bowl of the day is the St. Petersburg Bowl. It matches up Rutgers, and UCF. For UCF this is a great game because it's so close to home, and for Rutgers it's great since the weather at the game is going to be sunny and in the 60's and New Brunswick, NJ is getting hit with a blizzard.
The star of this game, draft-wise if Rutgers OT Anthony Davis. He's another talented underclassmen, who is debating whether to declare of not, mainly because he's had an up and down season. He came into the year as the best run blocking tackle in the draft, and while they may still be true, his junior season hasn't matched his Sophomore year. How he works out today could be a big step in his decision. Hes got a teammate in Kevin Haslam playing RT who's a legit draft prospect in his own regard. And they will need to work because UCF have a couple of talented DE's in Bruce Miller and Jarvis Geathers. Miller is the larger of the 2 and somewhere around 260lbs, and is a dynamic player, whereas Geathers is undersized and more of a rush specialist and probably projects more as a 3-4 rush OLB. But with 23 sacks between them, Davis and Haslam could have their hands full.
Oh, by the way, my picks for these games are Frenso State and UCF. I think Matthews will be too much for the Wyoming defense and the UCF dline will get the best of the Rutgers run offense.
Keep checking back during the week as I breakdown each of this season's bowl matchups!
Last Edited: 12/19/2009